October 31, 2006

Issue Two: Raising the Minimum Wage

Ohio Issue Two, a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage, is another hotly debated issue up for vote on Tuesday, 11/7/2006.

The minimum wage in Ohio hasn't been raised since the wage was last raised nationally in 1997. $5.15/hr doesn't have the same value in 2006 as it did nine years ago. Proposed is a modest hike in the minimum wage: bringing the lowest paid employees up to $6.85/hr.

Arguments for this are fairly simple: increase the amount that the lowest paid people are paid increases their purchasing power and helps the general welfare of the public.

Arguments against are that small businesses will be hurt by the new law. This perspective doesn't hold water. I can't remember the exact figure, but a business must make a certain amount of money for the law to apply to them.

I think the issue is pretty cut and dry. Vote YES on Issue 2.

Raise the Wage

October 25, 2006

Ohio Issue Three: "Learn and Earn"

I wanted to once again throw my two cents in on Ohio Issue 3, aka "Learn and Earn", or as Pho put it, "Educate and Obfuscate", but Redhorse has it best:


Learn & Earn wants to tell you what great offer they have for you and your children, but suffer the details, and you'll find L&E forgets to mention, "We haven't really figured this out yet, but it sure sounds great!".


That said, I once again wish to encourage people to vote NO on Ohio Issue 3, aka "Learn and Earn".

Not that it matters all that much given my oh-so-frequent posting of late, but I will be in West Virginia this weekend paying a much needed visit to my girlfriend and her family.

Blog on!

-rl

October 17, 2006

New Quinnipiac poll: Brown up 12

In what appears to be the best confirmation yet that indeed Mike DeWine will be mailed in by the RNC, a new Quinnipiac poll released today shows Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH13) with a twelve point advantage over incumbent Mike DeWine, leading 53-41. This is a marked improvement for Brown, who was statistically tied (45-44) with DeWine in the last Quinnipiac poll.

Following the breaking of the story that the RNC was cutting DeWine loose, RNC chair Ken Mehlman put the washer into hyperspin and immediately denied that DeWine would be losing the support of the RNC, issuing a press release indicating the contrary.

Now one must wonder if Mr. Mehlman will be eating crow for dinner... or maybe DeWine's cooked goose.

October 16, 2006

DeWine: Your Goose Is Cooked. Would you like it served with an orange glaze?

From Political Wire

"Senior Republican leaders have concluded that" Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) "is likely to be heading for defeat and are moving to reduce financial support for his race and divert party money to other embattled Republican senators," the New York Times reports.

The decision to effectively write off Mr. DeWine’s seat, after a series of internal Republican polls showed him falling behind his Democratic challenger, is part of a fluid series of choices by top leaders in both parties as they set the strategic framework of the campaign’s final three weeks, signaling, by where they are spending television money and other resources, the Senate and House races where they believe they have the best chances of success."

Republicans are "now pinning their hopes of holding the Senate" on three states: Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia. "Republicans also said they would run advertisements in New Jersey this week to test the vulnerability of Senator Robert Menendez, one of the few Democrats who appear endangered."


Enjoy your forced retirement, Mr. DeWine.

October 13, 2006

North Korea: Redux

North Korea sample shows no radiation

The Acksiz of Eevul has struck again in incompetence. Following myriad rumors that NK's testing of a nuclear weapon was a dud comes further proof that it also may have served to rattle the cages of the US, SK, CN, JP, and RU.

What does North Korea have to gain from this? Apart from the extortion that I've previously mentioned, NK probably also seeks to create some measure of disunity among the other parties of the six-party talks. If they cannot be united, North Korea will come out a winner. We are already seeing some divergence in the wishes of China and Japan, with Tokyo wanting to take a harder line against Pyongyang than Beijing is willing to do. Throw the US, Russia, and South Korea into the equation and an already complicated situation further complicates itself.

It is against this reasoning why I wonder President Bush consistently rejects calls for one-on-one talks with Pyongyang. This will remain a stalemate until one side accedes (duh), but as it stands right now, any concessions will only occur as the result of some extraordinary situation.

Ah, but that is the game of diplomacy.

I'd like to add that listening to W's presser on Wednesday was one of the more amusing things I had done recently. He tried to impress on to an audience of reporters that the reason explaining why one is "with us or against us" was that he did not have a "sophisticated vocabulary."

or ?

October 12, 2006

First snow!



A sharp snow squall line just passed through Munroe Falls, producing what appeared to be the first appreciable guise of winter. Woo! Apparently it snowed in Cleveland over an hour ago, they beat us to the punch.

In other news...

I've always had a fondness for Pierre Elliot Trudeau, I don't know why. It could be the him being a French-Qu├ębecois Prime Minister of Canada or his amusing arrogance. For those of you who aren't familiar with him, here's a video of PM Trudeau responding to reporters in 1971 on allegations that he mouthed "fuck off" to another MP in the House of Commons.



Fuddle duddle indeed, Monsieur le Premier Ministre.

October 11, 2006

The Fix has a great post...

From Parsing the Polls: The Voters' Party Impressions. It gets more meaningful towards the end of the article, the main portion of it summarizes cum analysis the results of polls.


There's so much polling being done these days that The Fix could parse a different survey every day. On Tuesday alone four major news partnerships released surveys -- Washington Post/ABC News, CBS/New York Times, USA Today/Gallup and CNN/Opinion Research.

Anyone remotely following the 2006 campaign can guess what the surveys said: Republicans down, Democrats up.

President Bush's job-approval rating ranged from a low of 34 percent in the CBS/Times poll to a high of 39 percent in the Post/ABC and CNN/Opinion Research surveys. The generic ballot test wasn't much better for Republicans. The Post/ABC poll had Democrats with a 13 percent edge over Republicans on the generic question; it was a 14-point Democratic margin in the Times/CBS survey, a 21-point edge in the CNN/Opinion Research poll and a whopping 23-point lead in the USA Today/Gallup poll.

As The Fix has said many times, this is the worst national environment for either party since the 1994 landslide election that gave Republicans control of the House for the first time in four decades. The similarity in political atmospherics does not ensure a similar wave for Democrats on Nov. 7, but it does show that the playing field is tilted heavily in their favor.

In The Voters' Own Words

Beyond Bush's job approval number or the dismal ratings for Congress, what caught our eye when deciding what to write about this week was a series of questions asked in a Gallup poll conducted at the end of last month that sought to test the voters' impressions of the two political parties.

Voters were asked to name what they liked and disliked about the Democratic and Republican parties. The pollsters didn't prompt respondents with sample statements; rather, they were allowed to simply say whatever came into their mind. This sort of free-association provides unique insight into how the parties are viewed by everyday Americans and how voters go about making their decisions on Election Day.

Let's look at voter impressions of the Democratic Party first. One-quarter of the sample said they liked the party's economic message: "supports the middle class/working class/average American" (10 percent), "supports the people" (8 percent) or "supports the poor/homeless" (5 percent). Four percent of those tested said they liked that the Democrat party was liberal; the same number cited Democrats' "views on social issues" as what they liked about the party.

Other positive traits worth mentioning include: "the platform" (3 percent), "like the politicians in the party" (3 percent) and "diverse/inclusive party" (3 percent).

What don't voters like about Democrats? Finishing first -- not surprisingly -- with eight percent was that the party is "too liberal/left-wing." One in five voters said what they disliked about Democrats was rooted in some variation of the idea that the party has no real principles: 6 percent of voters said the party had "no clear idea/solutions/wishy washy" or that they "don't take stands for their beliefs/don't oppose Bush", 5 percent said they are "not organized as a party/lack of focus."

Asked what they like most about the GOP, the leading response -- with nine percent -- was that it was conservative. The second most mentioned trait was "views on defense/war on terrorism/homeland security/military" with six percent. Four percent each cited the party's platform more generally and "their morals/family values."

What do voters not like about Republicans? Leading the list is the perception that they are the "party of the rich/not for the middle [or] lower class" (9 percent) followed by voters who said they "don't like/respect Congress/corrupt/poor ethics/dishonest" (7 percent). Six percent said the fact Republicans "support big business" or are "extreme right wing/conservatives" is what turns them off.

In many ways these results are not terribly surprising. For years, Democratic politicians have worked to paint themselves as the defenders of the average American while casting Republicans as the party of big business and the affluent. Republicans, on the other hand, have spent several decades waging a rhetorical war on Democrats by turning "liberal" into a dirty word. In the 2004 presidential election, exit polling showed that just 21 percent of the electorate defined itself as liberal -- a total dwarfed by self-identified moderates (45 percent) and conservatives (34 percent).

What does this mean for the two parties heading into the 2006 and 2008 elections? First, Democrats must find a way to change the prevailing idea that their party is devoid of any foundational beliefs. To win the White House in 2008 it will not be enough for Democrats to be simply be against Republican principles.

Meanwhile, Republicans need to convince the electorate that they are not controlled by big business at the expense of the middle class voter and that they stand as strongly against corruption in their ranks as Democrats.

Quite obviously, whichever side is better able to lessen their perceived weaknesses while highlighting their image strengths will likely wind up in the White House come January 2009.


It's amusing, really. The perceived socioeconomic disconnect between the Republicans and regular Joe voter never seems to play out at the polls. Moreover, it's laughable that Democrats are painted as liberal. In the great scheme of things, they (Democrats) are closer to the ideological center than Republicans are.

I recommend the reader to go to Political Compass to measure your ideological sensibilities.

EDIT: By the way, this is where I stand.

October 10, 2006

NK's nukes.

In the days since North Korea's purported nuclear test there has been considerable debate in the international community on what to do with the Kim regime. Since the collapse of six-party talks some years ago, North Korea has had effectively free rein over what it chose to do, how to pursue nuclear weapons, and methods to create fissile material for weapons.

North Korea is a regime of evil, it truly is. It has mastered the art of blackmailing its region (Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia), perfected the ability to make the US red in the face (pun intended), and puts the whole world closer to the brink. Why did we have to get this far? Saddam Hussein was never this provocative, yet the Bush administration saw it better fit to "American" interests to throw Hussein out and let the nation descend into a free for all of chaos with a total vacuum of power. The Clinton administration did a good job of keeping Iraq in check by committing daily acts of war through No Fly Zone patrols and starving the nation through a flawed program.

Well, not so good a job then, eh? All the same, Iraq didn't threaten the US the way North Korea does.

Why did we not go after the real source of policy headaches? We had been engaged in six-party talks in which we could have allied the other four parties (SK, JP, CN, and RU) against the Kim regime, but frequently the US found itself on the outside looking in. Was this a failure of American diplomacy?

Something needs to be done about North Korea five years ago.

-rl

October 3, 2006

NYTimes Lead Editorial

"History suggests that once a political party achieves sweeping power, it will only be a matter of time before the power becomes the entire point. Policy, ideology, ethics all gradually fall away, replaced by a political machine that exists to win elections and dispense the goodies that come as a result. The only surprise in Washington now is that the Congressional Republicans managed to reach that point of decayed purpose so thoroughly, so fast."


(H/T to Taegan Goddard's Political Wire)

In only 12 years did Republicans totally lose it. 12 years. Stunning.

Now, I'm a proponent of third way issues, which is basically how I see the Democrats now. Take a good solid look at what the party "stands" for, and it's most definitely not the bastion of liberalism, less California. IF the Democrats win control of the Houses (or at least one) in November, WILL they focus their leadership, give the party a sense of purpose, and moderate the executive branch? That is something that 5 years (2001-2007, excepting the period of time following Jim Jeffords' defection from the (R)s) of uni-party rule has not provided this nation. What we have heard is incessant demagoguery and what we have seen is the rapid descent into corruption of legislators, sometimes breaking the laws they helped to write (see Mark Foley).

For the sake of this country I pray that some common sense take over and we return to split government, thereby forcing the Executive to compromise instead of having the Congress simply rubberstamp their will.

It's time to come out of the wilderness, Democrats. You have 5 weeks from today to do it. On your marks... get set... GO!

October 2, 2006

On Mark Foley, the interwebs, and wanting to schnog your pages

The startling revelations that broke at the close of last week regarding Congressional misconduct are no small matter. What initially read to be some email that Rep. Mark Foley had sent to a former page of his that indicated some unusual interest in the page has exploded into a sex scandal of Washingtonian proportions. As the weekend proceeded and the story unfolded, it became known that the emails and AIM conversations were far more sexually explicit, with Foley requesting that one of the pages measure the size of his genitalia. Foley resigned his seat quickly and has gone into rehab for alcohol and "behavioral" issues.

...of course, going into Betty Ford for wanting to engage in sexual relations with an underage subordinate totally follows in logic...

What's most disturbing about this entire episode is that Foley was the chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. The man who wrote legislation on protecting kids from dangerous folks online was himself... a dangerous folk.

How drunk on power does one have to be to engage in an act hypocritical that it could last him or her in jail because of the legislation that he or she wrote?

Moreover, how drunk on power are the Republicans who denied knowledge of the matter and then a day later come forward and admit having known of Foley's behavior wellllll beforehand?

If there were ever a time to be turned off by politics and Lewinshy didn't do it... now may well be the time.

Plain Dealer poll...

PD Poll

If you don't want to actually read it:

Senate:
Brown - 45
DeWine - 43
Undecided - 10

(DeWine tightens the race, further cutting into Brown's lead.)

Governor:
Strickland - 53
Blackwell - 36
Undecided - 9

(Blackwell leads in one geographic area: SW Ohio. Similarly, SW Ohio is the only geographic locale where Strickland garners less than 50%.)

Atty General:
Dann - 37
Montgomery - 47
Undecided - 16

(Not bad considering that Marc Dann has virtually no name recognition beyond his constituency. Considerable # undecided.)

Secretary of State:
Brunner - 35
Hartmann - 32
Other - 3
Undecided - 30

Treasurer:
Cordray - 40
O'Brien - 31
Undecided - 29

(Huge #s undecided.)

Minimum Wage Increase?
Yes - 73
No - 20
Undecided - 7

Slot Machine Gambling?
Yes - 36
No - 52
Undecided - 12

(Not even in NE Ohio does Learn and Earn obtain even a plurality.)

Issues 4 and 5 just are mind-blowing. One (5 - voter initiative) is to ban smoking in public locations and places of employment, with a couple exceptions. The other (4 - constituional amendment) is to ban smoking in "enclosed areas" except for homes, bars, smoking areas in restaurants (think peeing in a pool), bowling alleys, bingo halls, and pretty much everywhere else. So it does nothing. And it's a constitutional amendment, meaning that if both 4 and 5 pass, 4 takes primacy and is the law. And it's stupid. Beyond Learn and Earn stupid for using the ability of the public to amend the state constitution.

That said...

Issue 4 (Smoke Less Ohio):
Yes - 45
No - 40
Undecided - 15

Issue 5 (Smoke Free Ohio):
Yes - 58
No - 30
Undecided - 12

I loathe issue 4. Loathe it. It's such a sham.

October 1, 2006

Jack Cafferty: Sometimes I really wonder what we're becoming in this country.



Cafferty says what should be said, I have nothing to add.

Old news... kinda.

Republican Governor's Association turns on Anti-Gay ads

Well, since they can't beat Strickland using any rational or cogent argument, let them go digging for the "hey, America hates dem fags" crowd. Remember, they're the uniters and not dividers.

:rolls eyes:

Stupidity. Pure and unfettered.